A groin strain is a common injury that occurs when the muscles or tendons in the groin area (the inner thigh and hip region) are stretched or torn. This type of injury typically occurs during activities that involve rapid changes in direction, such as running, jumping, or kicking. It can also occur during movements that require a sudden and forceful contraction of the groin muscles.
The severity of a groin strain can vary from mild to severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the muscles or tendons. Mild strains may cause some discomfort or soreness, while more severe strains can cause significant pain, swelling, and bruising, and may limit the individual’s ability to move the affected leg.
Causes of Groin Strain
Groin strains are typically caused by activities that involve sudden and forceful movements or twisting of the hip and thigh muscles. Here are some common causes of groin strains:
Sports Activities: Athletes who participate in sports that require sudden changes in direction, jumping, or kicking are at a higher risk of developing a groin strain. Sports such as soccer, basketball, and hockey are common culprits.
Overuse: Repetitive activities that strain the groin muscles, such as running or sprinting, can also lead to a groin strain.
Muscle Imbalance: Muscular imbalances or weakness in the core, hip, and thigh muscles can increase the risk of a groin strain.
Poor Flexibility: Tight hip and thigh muscles can increase the risk of a groin strain during activities that require a full range of motion.
Previous Injuries: Previous injuries to the groin or surrounding areas can weaken the muscles, making them more susceptible to strains.
It’s important to take preventive measures to reduce the risk of developing a groin strain. This includes proper warm-up and stretching before activities, building strength and flexibility in the groin and hip muscles, and gradually increasing the intensity and duration of physical activities.
Signs and Symptoms of Groin Strain
The signs and symptoms of a groin strain can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Here are some common symptoms:
- Pain: The primary symptom of a groin strain is a pain in the inner thigh or groin area. The pain may range from mild discomfort to severe, sharp pain that makes it difficult to move the affected leg.
- Swelling: Swelling and bruising may occur in the affected area, typically within the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury.
- Stiffness: The groin muscles may feel tight and stiff, especially when attempting to move the affected leg.
- Weakness: The affected leg may feel weak, making it difficult to perform normal activities, such as walking or running.
- Popping or snapping sensation: In severe cases, a popping or snapping sensation may be felt or heard at the time of injury.
- Reduced range of motion: The range of motion in the hip and thigh may be limited due to pain and stiffness.
It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they are severe or if you are unable to bear weight on the affected leg. A medical professional can help diagnose the extent of the injury and develop a treatment plan to help you recover.
Treatment for Groin Strain
Physiotherapy is an important part of the treatment plan for a groin strain, and it can help speed up the healing process and prevent further injury. Here are some common physiotherapy treatments that may be used for a groin strain:
Ice Therapy: Ice therapy is used to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation in the affected area. The physiotherapist may recommend using an ice pack or cold therapy machine for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
Stretching and Strengthening Exercises: The physiotherapist will develop an exercise program to help stretch and strengthen the muscles in the groin and hip area. These exercises will help improve flexibility, reduce pain, and prevent future injuries.
Massage Therapy: Massage therapy can help reduce pain, stiffness, and muscle tension in the affected area. The physiotherapist may use a variety of massage techniques, including deep tissue massage, myofascial release, and trigger point therapy.
Ultrasound Therapy: Ultrasound therapy uses high-frequency sound waves to stimulate the healing process and improve blood flow to the affected area. This can help reduce pain and promote healing.
TENS Therapy: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy uses a low-level electrical current to help reduce pain and muscle tension in the affected area.
Functional Rehabilitation: Once the pain and inflammation have subsided, the physiotherapist will work with the patient on functional rehabilitation, which involves exercises and activities that mimic the patient’s daily activities. This will help improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the affected area.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a therapist about groin strain please call us at 03 9836 1126.
Bennell, K., Wee, E., Coburn, S., Green, S., Harris, A., Staples, M., & Vicenzino, B. (2020). Efficacy of physiotherapy management of groin pain: A systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine